2020

After SB 50’s defeat, California lawmaker unveils ‘light touch’ housing density bill

Los Angeles Times
By John Myers, March 9, 2020

Six weeks after his high-profile effort to force California cities to increase housing density failed in the Legislature, the Democratic lawmaker behind the proposal introduced on Monday what he called a “light touch” approach — still pushing for more housing units in many single-family neighborhoods while also offering other communities the ability to skip lengthy environmental review for larger projects. The bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would allow construction of duplex, triplex and fourplex residential units without additional local government approval in single-family neighborhoods using what’s known as “by-right” provisions of state law. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

What Trump’s proposed NEPA rollback could mean for the climate

Yale Climate Connections
By Bruce Lieberman, February 20, 2020

The Trump administration is proposing to break new ground in its efforts to de-emphasize climate change, in this case involving the landmark 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its provisions requiring environmental impact statements. A Trump Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposal would allow review of environmental impact statements without consideration of projected impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and effects on the global climate. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

How to ease California housing crisis in four easy steps, and four more that are a little harder

CALmatters
By Dan Dunmoyer, February 18, 2020

The Construction Industry Research Board Report should be a wakeup call to California lawmakers. The report shows that 110,218 housing unit permits were issued in 2019, a 7% decrease from the prior year. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

2019

Newsom signs bill requiring further environmental review for Cadiz project

The Desert Sun
By Shane Newell and Sam Metz, July 31, 2019

A bill signed Wednesday evening by Gov. Gavin Newsom will require Cadiz Inc.’s Mojave Desert groundwater pumping project to undergo further review to prove it will not harm the surrounding environment. The bill, SB 307, was authored by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and cleared the Assembly earlier this month. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Environmental Laws Don’t Impede Development

Voice of San Diego
By JP Theberge, July 29, 2019

San Diego County, like the rest of California, is facing an affordable housing crisis of unprecedented proportions. But in the push to build more housing, officials should be careful not to throw out laws that have long served the state and our region. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state’s iconic environmental law

CALmatters
By Alastair Bland, May 13, 2019

In the rugged hills to the east of the Napa Valley, chainsaws and bulldozers converted a steep hillside of scrubby oak woodland and rockpiles into another vineyard. “That was an incredible rock-hopping wonderland, with frothing, amazing, waterfalling cascades every time it rained—I mean, it should have been a park,” said nearby resident Kellie Anderson of what is now a plot of grapevines at Bremer Family Winery, in the small community of Deer Park. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Dam removal opponents keep up their fight

Taft Midway Driller
By Skye Kinkade, May 1, 2019

As the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced that they’ve contracted with a company for removal of four Klamath dams last week, opponents continue to insist the organization is ill-prepared for the expense and consequences of removal. KRRC said they have contracted with Fairfield’s Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. for the design and implementation of dam removal, which they admit is “contingent on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a license transfer and license surrender, as well as other regulatory permits.” Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Letter: Strong CEQA shields Mount Diablo-area natural lands

The Mercury News
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, April 25, 2019

The California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, is the preeminent environmental law for the state. This year, several bills that would weaken this law are working through the Legislature. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Environment Report: Lawsuits Are a Weapon in Major Water Conflicts

Voice of San Diego
By Ry Rivard, April 22, 2019

In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. It’s also lately become a weapon in the state’s major water conflicts. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Should CEQA Reform be Given a “Fair Hearing?” PART II

Fox&Hounds Daily
By David Kersten, March 28, 2019

The accidental result of the new UC Berkeley academic studies and testimony presented at the March 12 joint legislative hearing appeared to clearly implicate CEQA as a major driver of the state’s skyrocketing housing development costs. The first panel was intended to give an overview of CEQA and its streamlining provisions. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Is CEQA Preventing Housing from Being Built in California?

Streetsblog California
By Melanie Curry, March 13, 2019

Two Senate committees–Judiciary and Environmental Quality–held a joint informational hearing yesterday to discuss whether the California Environmental Quality Act is slowing or impeding housing production across the state. It is not, said several CEQA experts. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.

Five Years in the Making: California is One Step Closer to a Comprehensive Update to the CEQA Guidelines

The National Law Review
By Jeffrey W. Forrest, Whitney Hodges, Alexander L. Merritt, and Lauren K. Chang, January 7, 2019

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) has spent five years drafting a comprehensive update to 30 sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Guidelines. The updated text (“Final Text”) ensures the Guidelines are consistent with recent court decisions, implements legislative changes, clarifies rules governing the CEQA process, and eliminates duplicative analysis. Click here to go to the website and click here for the pdf version.